By Edward Docx
Published Aug 2011
Dr Forle is studying ants in a research station far up river in the jungles of South America, and has achieved a peaceful coexistence with his colleagues, the jungle tribes and his local mistress, away from the hubbub and violence of the city.
But all that is to change with the arrival of the Judge, come to arrange an election which will be used to steal away land rights for the mineral and oil prospectors, and the Colonel and his soldiers whose job is to fight the cocaine gangs by recruiting or terrorising the local people. As the stakes rise and the station is overwhelmed by violence, Forle comes to realise that his precious ants, with their miraculous powers of social and environmental organisation, are a better reflection of the jungle than the fabled heart of darkness which lies instead in the humans all around him.
A profound, edge of the seat literary thriller with a radical and very contemporary new take on a classic.
Precise, elegant prose. We are used to criticising historical novels for looking at the past through the lens of the present: The Devil’s Garden represents the curious reverse case of looking at the present through the lens of the past. beautifully crafted, vaguely antique prose.